Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Spring brings a new season for the cutting garden. Once the danger of frost it is time to begin planting the more tender annuals that you plan on using for cut flowers. Here are some general tips that will help make your cutting garden a valuable source.
For best results, choose a good spot for your cutting garden. It will make upkeep easier. Most of these flowers need full sun. They wonít be near as floriferous in partial shade. Full sun means exactly thatódirect sun for at least six to eight hours per day.
If at all possible, select a well drained spot. In general, many plants donít like wet feet. If the soil is constantly moist or poorly drained, the plants usually develop diseases, such as root rots, that shorten their lives.
If the area hasnít been used previously for a flower or vegetable garden, the soil will benefit from tilling. Add compost, composted manure, or other organic matter before tilling. Often, the quickest and easiest way to create a cutting garden is to set aside some rows in a vegetable garden you already have.
When growing annuals in cutting gardens, spread or biodegradable paper mulch or black plastic mulch in the rows before planting. Then, cut holes and plant the seeds/transplants right into the mulch. The mulch deters weeds in the cutting garden. In between the rows, use organic mulch, such as straw.
For cutting gardens, straight rows or blocks work best. In a cutting garden, you arenít concerned about what the garden looks like.
So far as plants are concerned, most cutting gardens are made up of annuals. If you plan on cutting large numbers of stems from perennials or bulbs, these also belong in the cutting garden.
There are many suitable varieties for cutting gardens. It certainly makes sense to grow ones that arenít commercially available. This is your chance. So, make good use of this opportunity.
For best results, apply a slow-release fertilizer at planting time. This will save you time later. Otherwise, adding fertilizer every six weeks or so becomes one more cutting garden chore.
The one thing the cutting garden requires is adequate moisture. It will need watering every ten days or so when rainfall is insufficient. If you live in a drought-prone area where water restrictions are in place, donít plant more than youíre allowed to water.